$50,000 reward offered for ‘AK-47 Bandit’; linked to multi-state bank robbery spree, shooting of Chino police officer

The FBI is offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to the capture of a “heavily armed and dangerous” serial bank robber known as the AK-47 Bandit, who began his multi-state criminal career with a Chino bank heist in which he shot a police officer.
The reward for the robber was increased from $20,000 to $50,000 following what was believed to be his his fifth crime Wednesday in Idaho, according to FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller.
The bandit earned his moniker because of the weaponry he has carried during the crimes — an AK-47 style rifle fixed with a large drum magazine. He’s also been seen wearing a black ski mask, body armor and a vest emblazoned with the word, “Sheriff.”
“This suspect is considered heavily armed and dangerous, and individuals who may come into contact with him are advised to contact law enforcement immediately and refrain from taking independent action to apprehend the suspect,” Eimiller said.
In Wednesday’s heist in Rexburg, Idaho, the bandit ordered employees and customer into a vault while brandishing his trademark weapon, FBI officials said.
The AK-47 Bandit has also been linked to a Vacaville bank robbery on March 12, a North Bend, Washington robbery on July 6 and a failed March 9 heist at a Sacramento bank.
FBI officials described the bandit as a white man between 25 and 40, about 5 feet 10 inches tall, 180 to 220 pounds and of stocky build. In addition to his body armor and sheriff’s vest, the robber has been seen wearing a black coat with a hood, black gloves and baggy Levi jeans during the crimes.
At least three different getaway vehicles have been reported in connection with the robberies.
In the Chino robbery, which is believed to be the first in the spree, someone called police to make bomb threat at the south end of town, Chino Police Chief Miles Pruitt said in the days following the heist and shooting.
The call was made from a pay phone in the vicinity of the bank, Eimiller said.
“Investigators believe the suspect employed a diversionary tactic in an attempt to delay officers responding to the Chino bank robbery,” she added.
It was not clear if the bomb threat was made by the bandit himself or an accomplice.
Recognizing the bomb threat may have been a distraction, other patrol officers also began checking on local banks, Pruitt said.
A Chino patrol officer spotted the assault rifle-wielding bandit exiting the California Bank & Trust about 10:50 a.m., officials said.
The bandit immediately opened fire, striking his patrol car numerous times and wounding the officer, Pruitt said.
The officers was seriously wounded, though the injury was not life-threatening, police said. He remains on light duty as a result of the injury.
Anyone with information regarding the AK-47 bandit is asked to contact their local FBI office or call 9-1-1 immediately.

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